I believe there is a God – not the God we’re sold when we’re small, but clearly there is more to Heaven and earth than we shall know.
This came in;
Reet! Here we gan. 1st of all Mr B? Is this the conclusion to your studies or is this a phase you are going through. You’ve mentioned the sometimes you think there is a God and sometimes you think there aint? I’d like to think you will wrestle with the question till you shuttle off the big tamale. I’ve discussed religion before with your goodself a few times.
You may remember I was brought up by religious parents and my dad was in the salvation army. Yet still I spotted hypocrisies early on and series of events in my childhood such as the ethiopian crisis convinced me there was no God. I’ve taken an interest in religion ever since though. I was so bemused that both my parents were religious and I wasn’t that my attention turned to the rest of the world. Why do so many people share beliefs on huge scales, and why do I… well… not.
It took me a while to seperate religion from spirituality and my stance on God shifted as it did. There have been a few occasions where I flat outright believe in some devine hand tweaking the nipples of life, but on the whole my mind tries to work out a rational explanation for everything. The biggest of which follows. This may be a bit long, but seeing as its a big issue I hope you and the punters here indulge me.
My dad died while I was at work. I worked and lived in Newcastle and he lived and died in my home town of Seaham which is a mining town on the northeast coast about 20 miles south. He never had a phone. Never had a wallet. Picked his dole up from the post office and did his shopping in the markets in Sunderland. My current residence. Having none of these things we take for granted this rendered him with no discernable ID.
Two days before I found out he died, he died. With his dole in his pocket, waiting for the bus to take him shopping. He was at the bus stop with 2 kids. He said “Yalreet?” smiled and died. On the spot. One of the kids tried to do the kiss of life while the other ran to the local doctors surgery only 20 yards or so away. The theory is he pretty much went before he hit the floor. But he was still smiling. It was a Monday. On Tuesday in a local rag a headline said “Unidentified Man Dies at Bus Stop”. The piece was respectable and mentioned the only form of ID was the word TOMMY written on the knuckles of his left hand. They were inundated with phone calls. My dad was well known, because of his commitment to the “Sally Bash”. He frequented pubs for years but the last 10 years or so of his life it was to sell the War Cry and not bellowing it.
On the Wednesday, my cousin David identified him officially and came to find my mam and deciede instead of telling me over the phone they would come for me at work. It was a surreal and unbelievable moment we will all encounter at some point yet will never fully be able to explain. Once I’d regained control of my emotions I was driven by a compulsion to see him straight away. My folks tried to disuade me saying I was in shock and stuff, but my intent was oddly clear. It was something I had to do. So off we went, back home but diverting to Sunderland Royal Chapel of Rest.
My earliest and most profound memory of my dad was his obsession with birds. It’s something I have carried on since our first birdwatching walk in the nearby countryside. He taught me how to differentiate birds by sight and sound. He was in the RSPB and for a year before I was born he was a warden at a local nature reserve, but needed the money when I popped along so went back down the mines. For years people still brought injured birds to our house so Tommy could fix them. And 9 times out of ten he would have to put them out of their misery but never letting on to those who brought them to us. I learned about life and death back then. We made it to the hospital and beacuse i went there unannounced I had to wait with a cup of tea while the made him ready. It seemed like days, but gave me a chance to question why I was so compelled to go and see him. There were no answers. Then it was time. I went in alone. He was still smiling. And he had little knicks on his skin where he’d cut himself shaving, he never mastered that art. I just asked If he was alright a stupid question really you know, he’s in front of me dead, but something inside me just thought thats just his body. After a few moments, a kiss and a hug, I left.
All the way from work the weather was horrendous. Rain belting down and cold. A few moments after stepping into the hospital car park to go home I asked to be alone they masde their way to the car and I could find myself about to burst into tears when the sun burst through the clouds and it sent the until then dosile birds in the treas and on the rooves into a crazy explosion of noise and flight. The seaguls were hoofing around me and just sounded joyous. Like they’d been waiting for the sun all day. That was my major God moment. Make of it what you will.
This followed on from the original post, here: http://mrtommyboyd.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/while-im-on-a-roll/
Tommy will be joining us on the podcast soon.